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Good News for Texas Poker Players
Saturday, April 4, 2009
H.B. 222, better known as the Poker Gaming Act of 2009 may just shake things up in Texas (where it is believed that Texas Hold'em originated) where the bill was just passed by a house committee. In his second attempt to get the bill passed, Democrat Jose Menendez's bill was aimed to expand the presence of Poker in his state, and with a 6-3 vote in favour by the House's Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee he got one step further in succeeding in his goal.

Before the vote, the jurisdiction of the bill was clarified in that the committee agreed that it should be up to each community if they wish to legalize poker or not, thus making it a local issue. If passed into law the bill dictates that the State will be giving every local community the right to choose whether they wish to have poker legalized or not, thus poker will be legal in Texas but illegal in some areas of it. It is understood that a vote for legalization will also come with limitations regarding the location and situation of a legal game – licenses will be issued by the State to appropriate establishments; this licensing would be dealt with by the Texas Lottery Commission as well as some other state agencies.

If the bill is passed into law there will be many benefits for many people. The State will receive licensing fees; the establishments will collect rake and fees. In addition however, it is believed that a Poker Gaming Revenue Fund will be established in order to funnel some of the revenues from the new state industry towards those in need by contributing to the social services system.

With this hurdle behind it, H.B. 222 will now go before the full Texas House of Representatives.

Mexico LAPT Champion Finally Crowned
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Unlike the World Series of Poker Final Table which was meant to incur a delay of several months, the Latin American Poker Tour had no planned delay but received one anyway. After 3 months however, the champion has finally been crowned and everyone can breathe easy again.

As everyone will remember, in December of last year the 242 players in the Nuevo Vallarta Main Event had been carved down to 89 when local officials came in and closed the whole show down. At that point prizes were given out depending on the stacks at the time of close down; however, PokerStars also ran a free-roll in order to get down to the final 9 so that a live final table could be played prior to the Uruguay stop. Well the Uruguay stop is here, which means, time for the Mexico Final Table!

Going into the final table PokerStars had contributed $50,000 meaning that the final 9 were playing for a first place prize of $15,000. It was American Rory Cox who dominated the play with nearly half of all the chips to himself through most of the day. None-the-less play stretched on into the wee hours, not least of all because of some titillating heads-up action. The first to be eliminated from the final table was Victor Ramdin of the USA and he was followed by Alex Brenes who was pushed out at the hand of Pavel Naydenov. The eliminations came quite fast, and not just a couple were at the hands of Cox. Going into heads up play, Cox was showing more or less a 5:1 lead over fellow American Helen Prager, but that wasn't to say that it was plain sailing. Prager doubled up twice, and by the time the dinner break came around, Prager was in the lead. Following dinner it was a bitter struggle of back and forth, but in the end Cox got the upper hand when Prager went all in to Cox's 72,000 raise from the small blind. For Cox it was As, 10s, for Prager, Kh, 7d. The board came out Ac, Jh, 8c, 5s, Js, and Cox got his trophy.

Bay 101 Shooting Stars Here We Come
Monday, March 16, 2009
Monday March 16th, it can only mean one thing – the beginning of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Championship! Held at the Bay 101 Card Room, San Jose, this is one of the most exciting stops in the WPT schedule, for player and spectator alike.

What makes this tournament so special? Well, that would be the Shooting Star element of it. The capacity is capped at 400 players, and amongst those 400 who will be split over 2 day ones, there will be approximately 80 "stars"; these stars are of course there to win, but they are also there to provide an extra something for the non-stars - a bounty. The tournament has a $10,000 buy-in and the first place prize is expected to reach into seven figures, however, if you knock-out a star, you get a $5,000 bonus even if you don't make the money bubble! In addition to this, the chip leader at the close of play on each of the day ones will be awarded $10,000.

Some of the stars to playing on each day one are as follows:

Day 1a: Andy Bloch, Todd Brunson, Hoyt Corkins, Allen Cunningham, Freddy Deeb, Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, John Juanda, Erick Lindgren, Jonathan Little, Mike Matusow, Nenad Medic, David Pham, Joe Sebok, Erik Seidel, David Singer, Gavin Smith, and Paul Wasicka.

Day 1b: Defending Champion Brandon Cantu, David Chiu, T.J. Cloutier, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Kathy Liebert, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, John Phan, J.C. Tran, and Jerry Yang.

The tournament schedule will look like this, in local time:

Monday, March 16th, Day 1a: 10.45, play through 10 levels.
Tuesday, March 17th, Day 1b: 10.45, play through 10 levels.
Wednesday, March 18th, Day 2: 10.45, Play to 36 players.
Thursday, March 19th, Day 3: 12.00, Play to 6 players.
Friday, March 20th, Final Table: 16.00

Players will start with $20,000 in chips; day ones will have one hour levels, whilst day 2 and 3 will have 90 minutes levels. The winner of the tournament will receive a $25,500 WPT Championship seat as well as the cash payout, and if a "star" wins, they will win their own bounty too.

EPT Dortmund Winner Decided
Sunday, March 15, 2009
It was an exciting evening in Dortmund, with lots to play for and some surprising outcomes.

Following the eliminations of Cengizcan Ulusu, William Thorson and Luca Pagano, the remaining 5 went for their dinner break, and on their return Naujoks started breathing fire; she won a bunch of large pots, and was ultimately responsible for the fifth place elimination of last year's winner Mike McDonald. It was at this point that Naujoks took an enormous chip lead, and final day original chip leader Johan Storakers fancied his chances against her but lost when his A,Q was outranked by her A,K and off he went in the fourth place position.

3 handed play was therefore a battle of the Germans; Marc Gork, Holger Kanisch, and Sandra Naujoks, and an hour was all it took to get that down to two. Gork was the man to say goodbye but not until he had given a good fight, even taking the chip lead at one point. The final hand was a Kanisch raise from the button, a Naujoks call from the small blind and a Gork all in; Kanisch folded, Naujoks called. The 2c, Qd, 5c, Jd, 5h board gave Naujoks' pocket 7s the advantage over Gork's, K,10.

Heads up play got off to a slow start, but soon turned into a chip lead battle that was finally knocked on the head when Naujoks' pocket Aces tore strips off of Kanisch's pocket Jacks and she doubled up to more than 5 million. Level 30 was the final level of the day, and with 100,000 big blinds slow was the name of the game. The final hand however came with Naujoks throwing in 300,000 and Kanisch raising to 1,000,000; Naujoks goes all in and Kanisch calls. It was touch and go as Kanisch's strong A,Q was looking good against Naujoks' A,9, however a 9 on the turn was all she needed, and the title was hers.

EPT Dortmund Final Table Catch Up: Level 26 and Counting
Saturday, March 14, 2009
William Thorson has become a regular at the EPT has been having a great few days here in Dortmund. Beginning the final table with 829,000 Thorson was surely in a great place for finding his way to heads-up play. Not to be however; an hour and forty minutes into play Thorson took a huge whack when he called a Holger Kanisch all in only to be killed on the turn and he found himself with only 400,000 left. From that point on it was less than 20 minutes before Thorson took his leave, taking €116,500 with him.

A chip lead battle ensued around 3 hours into play, and Johan Storaker who had come into the day the strongest retook his chip lead position from Holger Kanisch, and as level 26 turned into level 27 it seemed like a new sheriff was in town; McDonald started pulling the punches, and play started moving. Just 5 minutes before the dinner break, another EPT regular, Luca Pagano busted out. A move from the button and a call from Marc Gork saw his pair of 7s just not hold up; Pagano leaves in sixth place with €153,000.

So that's the most up to date news from Dortmund; lots still to play for, and lots still to tune in for.

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